GENEVA / YEMEN WFP

14-Dec-2018 00:01:45
The freshly agreed Yemen ceasefire deal covering the key Red Sea governorates of Hudaydah and Taizz was welcomed by the World Food Programme (WFP), which expressed hope that it would improve access for humanitarians and, just as crucially, commercial shipping. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / YEMEN WFP
TRT: 01:45
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 14 DECEMBER 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations

14 DECEMBER 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, United Nations Press room podium
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, World Food Programme (WFP):
“This agreement has the potential to allow the ports of Hudaydah and Saleef to operate at near-normal capacity. The free flow of commercial food supplies into Yemen should prevent further increases in food prices which have sky-rocketed in the last few months.”
4. Wide shot, podium
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, World Food Programme (WFP):
“With the conflict intensifying over the recent weeks, we have seen a decrease of 50 per cent in shipments into Hudaydah port as private companies, shipping companies, were reluctant to use the port for security reasons. We also hope, then, that it will change.”
6. Med shot, journalists conferring
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, World Food Programme (WFP):
“We know that we don’t have access to those facilities since September; we hope that thanks to the agreement we will have access very soon to those facilities and we will be able to dispatch those 51,000 tonnes of wheat to assist 3.7 million people.”
8. Close up, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, World Food Programme (WFP):
“The deal is not enough, it’s a good start. That’s why we look forward to January or later when the second round of discussions will take place under the Special Envoy’s leadership and we hope that other similar agreements will be reached in other parts of the country.”
10. Wide shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, World Food Programme (WFP):
“It’s time - it’s past time, more or less - but it’s still time to save millions of people for the moment and honestly, our staff is working 24 hours a day for the moment to avoid as much as we can a catastrophe.”
11. Medium shot, journalists.
12. Close up, laptop
13. Close up, journalist
STORYLINE
The freshly agreed Yemen ceasefire deal covering the key Red Sea governorates of Hudaydah and Taizz was welcomed by the World Food Programme (WFP), which today (14 Dec) expressed hope that it would improve access for humanitarians and, just as crucially, commercial shipping.

WFP spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva that the agreement “has the potential to allow the ports of Hudaydah and Saleef to operate at near-normal capacity,” and added that “the free flow of commercial food supplies into Yemen should prevent further increases in food prices, which have sky-rocketed in the last few months.”

WFP and other UN agencies describe Hudaydah as the principal lifeline for two-thirds of the country, whose people have endured suffering on a huge scale since fighting escalated between Government forces and Houthi opposition militia, in March 2015.

Under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, the UN is to play a significant role in managing the port.

To illustrate the widespread need for assistance in Yemen, Verhoosel explained that in January 2017 WFP assisted 3.5 million people a month, but that this number had now more than tripled. “He said, it’s one of our biggest operations ever,” adding that the agency plans to reach up to 12 million people in January next year.

Of particular concern are children and breastfeeding mothers, 1.5 million of whom will receive additional nutritional support in coming weeks.

Before the warring sides agreed a deal at UN-led talks in Sweden this week, fighting had seriously curtailed the sustained supply of commercially shipped food and fuel through Hudaydah.

This led to a spike in prices which put basic goods beyond the reach of ordinary Yemenis.

Verhoosel said, “with the conflict intensifying over the recent weeks, we have seen a decrease of 50 percent in shipments into Hudaydah port as private companies, shipping companies, were reluctant to use the port for security reasons.”

The UN agency is also hopeful that it will soon regain access to a large milling and storage facility in Hudaydah – the Red Sea Mills - which supplies one-quarter of its flour for millions of people in north and central Yemen.

Verhoosel. Said “we know that we don’t have access to those facilities since September,” expressing hope that “thanks to the agreement we will have access very soon to those facilities and we will be able to dispatch those 51,000 tonnes of wheat to assist 3.7 million people.”

Details of the ceasefire agreement were announced on Thursday by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said that despite “pending” unresolved issues, it would improve the lives of millions of people.

In addition to an end to fighting in Hudaydah governorate, the ceasefire deal also encompasses neighbouring Taizz governorate, where years of conflict in the city have posed serious access challenges to humanitarians.

The WFP’s spokesperson said he hoped that the “peace breakthrough” announced in Sweden would lead to similar agreements elsewhere in Yemen – and better humanitarian access to those in need.

He said the deal “is not enough, it’s a good start,” and expressed hope that when the second round of discussions begins in January “other similar agreements will be reached in other parts of the country.”

Verhoosel said, “it’s time - it’s past time, more or less - but it’s still time to save millions of people for the moment.” He said, “honestly, our staff is working 24 hours a day for the moment to avoid as much as we can a catastrophe.”

Without assistance, 73 percent of the population in Taizz – some 2.2 million people – risk “crisis” levels of food insecurity, according to the WFP, 1.3 million would experience “emergency” levels of hunger and 45,000 would face “famine-like” conditions.
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